Finally, spring is here (cue the applause), and we can’t wait to get out and take advantage of all the spring things to do in NJ, especially after a long winter. From heading to an amusement park opening to walking among fields of tulips to catching the first baseball game—there are so many fun things to do in NJ to fill your bucket list in the next few months ahead. Scroll down to discover a new one or revisit an old favorite. (featured photo credit: @sfgradventure)
Find thrills and spills at Diggerland USA
It’s official—Diggerland USA is open this spring from 11 AM-5 PM on weekends for your little construction enthusiast. And if you’re staying close to home during spring break, the park will be open every day on April 1-16 from 11 AM-6 PM (even on Easter!). Don’t miss the new additions to the park, including the Lumber Jack Claw, where families can experience maneuvering a log loader and massive claw with a joystick. And for touch-a-truck fans, the Hook & Ladder: Station 100 is where you can see, touch (during daily touch times), and climb aboard several EMS vehicles on display. Ready to make a plan? Don’t miss the EXCLUSIVE NJMOM TICKET SALE for tickets at $45.95, saving $4 off each regularly priced ticket ($49.95) for a limited time, and group discounts are now available with limited availability. Got a birthday this spring? Check out the all-new 2023 birthday party packages where you can party with up to 30 friends too.
The Ladies Professional Golf Association (LPGA) returns to Northern New Jersey May 10-14, teeing off The Year of Woman’s Golf at Upper Montclair Country Club. Photo Credit: LPGA
2023 LPGA Cognizant Founders Cup Returns to New Jersey
Get ready—the LPGA’s Cognizant Founders Cup returns to the historic Upper Montclair Country Club on May 10-14. Enjoy an exciting week of “family entertainment” as the greatest professional golfers in the world compete in one of the most celebrated tournaments for a share of the $3 million purse. Bring the whole family to enjoy a day at the golf course and get close to the action while cheering on the LPGA stars of today, including several Mom players competing on the LPGA Tour. The exciting event kicks off the Year of Women’s Golf in New Jersey and pays tribute to the 13 founding members of the LPGA Tour with activities and fun for moms on Mother’s Day and their families. During the weekend, kids can tee it up through instructional clinics and a lesson zone hosted by LPGA and PGA Professionals. All juniors 17 and under receive FREE general admission, and for Individual and week-long ticket packages, along with an assortment of hospitality options and spectator information, visit www.thefounderslpga.com.
25 Fun Things to Do in NJ To Fill Your Bucket List This Season
Hang with the animals at the best zoos in NJ
After a winter hibernating, heading to a zoo is a great way to get that pent-up energy out and outside in the fresh air. See giraffes and elephants from your car at Six Flags Drive-Thru Safari (opening day is April 1), or check out what flamingos, lions, bears, and the like are doing at Turtle Back Zoo or Cape May County Zoo. Been there, done that? There are plenty of other zoos in the state and a few in NY and Philly too. Or, if you are looking for a more interactive experience, there are plenty of petting zoos your little will love too.
Take a peek at blooming trees
Fun fact: New Jersey is home to the most extensive cherry blossom collection in the United States. Yup, you don’t have to travel to Washington DC to see the soft pink blooms—Branch Brook Park in Newark has over 4000 cherry trees and hosts an annual cherry blossom festival the first week of April. Nothing says spring like rows and rows of gorgeous cherry blossoms in full bloom, and there are plenty of spots to see these beauties at their best. But go quick—the peak lasts about a week and usually happens at the beginning of April.
Ride the thrills and spills before the summer
We know your kids have been patiently waiting for their favorite rides to open, and spring is the best time to get out and see them. The crowds are gone, and it gives you a chance to try out those new rides and attractions before everyone else. Six Flags Great Adventure opens on April 1, or head to the boardwalks before the summer when Morey’s Piers opens in early May. Check out our amusement parks guide for more ideas on where to go and the scoop on season passes. And whether it’s rain or shine, kids can always try the rides at Nickelodeon Universe Indoor Amusement Park at American Dream.
Discover a new-to-you attraction
Of all the fun things to do in NJ, your kids will probably be itching to try something new. Did you know that New Jersey has the oldest roadside attraction in the world, a battleship you can walk onto and roaring life-size dinos? Take them on a day trip to see larger-than-life art at Grounds For Sculpture, control a real dump truck at Diggerland, and watch nursery rhymes come to life at Storybook Land. Scope out a new one with our NJMOM guide to the best things to do in NJ. And if you are feeling even more adventurous, plan to visit these strange NJ attractions (like a martian landing site—for real).
Walk among the spring flowers
Tulips, roses, and orchids will all be in bloom, and luckily NJ has plenty of spots to view them. Whether you walk through rows of tulips at Holland Farms or take close-up photos of the roses at Deep Cut Gardens, beauty is popping up all over the state. Want to know where to go? Check out our extensive guide to seeing spring blooms all over the state.
Hop to it with the Easter Bunny at an egg hunt
Spring means Easter, and finally, we’re back to regular programming with lots of egg hunts and bunny visits with everything from the usual (candy-filled egg hunts) to the unique (take a hayride with the bunny). With Easter bunny train rides, scavenger hunts, and visits with the bunny in his garden lair for photo ops, you’re sure to have a hoppy holiday this year.
Explore a family-friendly downtown destination
With plenty of kid-friendly things to do on the streets of New Jersey’s unique and vibrant downtowns, exploring one with the whole family is a must. There are charming towns that offer culture, history, unique shops, and fun restaurants for littles, bigs, and adults. From the Hudson River views in Hoboken to the university town of Princeton to “Haddy,” the Hadrosaurus in Haddonfield, check them out in our guide to downtowns for families. And if you’re looking to take your exploration to the next level, make a stop at one of NJ’s hidden gems.
Visiting an alpaca farm is one of our favorite fun things to do in NJ. Photo taken at Edel Haus Farm.
Cozy up with an alpaca
This spring is your chance to meet a gentle-hearted, soft animal from the camelid family at one of the alpaca farms in NJ. Your littles will love cozying up to the gentle creatures and learning how their fur is used to make lots of products yearly (all 100% safe and animal-friendly).
Step into history IRL
One of the best things about living in The Garden State is showing your kids a real piece of our country’s history. And we’re lucky to have historical landmarks of some of the oldest sites in the country—from Washington Headquarters during the Revolutionary War to Thomas Edison’s laboratory to a 160-year-old lighthouse in Absecon. If you are looking for places to make learning fun, make sure you have these historical sites on your bucket list.
Go under the sea
Here’s a way to make a splash with your kids this spring—dive into an aquarium where the whole family can learn about sea life and conservation. And with many aquariums offering special exhibits, you can waddle with the penguins, watch a shark swim, observe huge hippos, and more. Our NJMOM guide to aquariums has everything you need to know about ocean life this spring.
Have a garden tea party with your besties
Warmer temps mean you’ll spend more time outside, and drinking tea among the flowers is a spring must. Dress up and sit in the sunshine sipping that Matcha with your bestie, or bring your little one along to enjoy some finger sandwiches and jam. You can head to a special garden offering royal service or host a garden tea party at home.
Pose in pastels for a spring photoshoot
Who says the holidays are the only time for a family photo? Consider how pretty spring is and the chance to get dressed up in coordinating pastels to get that shot along with a beautiful backdrop of floral fields or greenery. Not sure where to go? We’ve got you covered with 12 Insta-worthy locations in NJ.
Escape on a family getaway without getting on a plane
A quick getaway sounds good any time of year, but planning one for a weekend within the tri-state area is a spring bucket list must. And with so many places nearby, it’s easy to find an escape that appeals to everyone in the fam. Try one with an indoor pool that feels like a tropical escape at Camelback Resort, hit the majestic hiking trails in the Catskills at Mohonk Mountain House, or get close to the ocean at Congress Hall—you’ll find one that appeals to your kids in our guide to local kid-friendly resorts. Or, if you are looking for an adult-friendly retreat, check out our list of area luxury resorts and hotels.
Learn and experience a local museum
If you haven’t been to an NJ museum in a while, make sure it’s on your spring bucket list this year. Rediscover Liberty Science Center, where new exhibits like Pompeii: The Immortal City will inspire your kids; join in painting and creating workshops at the Newark Museum of Art; get googly-eyed over optical illusions at The TiLT Museum, or visit Stella the Dinosaur made from auto parts at the Monmouth Museum. Kids will appreciate the interactive exhibits, and you can also sneak in some hands-on learning.
Hit a family home run at a baseball game
Opening day is coming, and you know what that means—heading to see the NJ baseball teams in action. It’s a home run for family fun—you’ll watch rising major players show off great gameplay, hit-up fun activities for the kids, take photo ops, and watch fireworks light up the night sky. See the Jersey Shore Blue Claws open their season on April 11, 2023, or watch the first pitch when the Sussex Miners play their first home game on May 16, 2023. Batter up!
Get some fresh air at the top of an NJ waterfall
Want to feel like you’ve landed in paradise without going out of state? Head to one of 19 waterfalls in NJ. New Jersey is known for many things like beaches and state parks, but if there’s one more thing we should be known for—it’s gorgeous waterfalls. Some are easily seen from a roadside lookout, while others require a hike (check out what’s doable for your family before you go). Try an outdoor excursion at Paterson Great Falls, one of the most iconic in the state.
Bike (or hike) the day away
From riding through picturesque towns to trails part of Revolutionary War history to paths following the shoreline, you can discover a new bike path with our NJMOM guide to NJ’s most scenic bike paths. Need some wheels? Find a smooth ride at the best bike shops around. Or, if you would rather stay on your two feet, these are the hiking trails you’ll want to know about.
Plan to park it for the day
During spring, heading to a state park is a must—pack a picnic and go out and explore the wooded areas, open spaces, and picturesque coastlines. From the promenade at Liberty State Park to seeing history up close at Princeton Battlefield to spending time in the sand at a historic lighthouse at Cape May Point, there’s an NJ state park that will wow your family. Or stick to a local one, where you can find unique vistas and wide-open places to enjoy a hike, fishing, or a picnic.
Spending the day outdoors in the garden should be at the top of your fun things to do in NJ list. Photo Credit: New Jersey State Botanical Garden
Spend time in nature
Spending time in a garden, arboretum, or nature center can give your family all the spring feels. Plus, you’ll learn about plants and nature to jumpstart your own garden. Head north to Van Vleck House or south to Deep Cut Gardens and read The Best Garden and Nature Centers in New Jersey for more places to go.
Spread your wings at an NJ butterfly garden
Seeing butterflies is a sure sign that spring is here. And the best way to see one up close is to visit a butterfly garden where you can see these colorful insects fly by. Check out one of the butterfly gardens where littles can marvel at all the different colors and species of plants and butterflies, and you’ll be able to sneak in a few Insta-worthy photos. Here are 7 butterfly gardens you can put on your list of spring fun things to do in NJ.
Climb to the top of a lighthouse
The lighthouses in New Jersey give a peek into our state’s maritime history and incredible views. With Sandy Hook to the north, Absecon Lighthouse to the south, and Finn’s Point out west, there are so many options to see a lighthouse or lightship in the state. Not sure where to start? Our guide to NJ lighthouses will show you the way.
Hang out at an NJ playground
Spending time at a playground is a top spring activity for littles, so why not make it one with water views? Pack a picnic and head down to the shore, lakes, or beach to swing and slide over the sand. If you want to head to the ocean, there are plenty of cute beach playgrounds where your littles can take in the sea air. And if you can’t get to the shore, the Regatta Playground in the South Mountain Recreation Complex overlooking a pond will give you waterfront vibes while your kids climb on a giant ship.
Shop local and outdoors
Shopping indoors and outdoors is fun all year round, but it’s a little sweeter when things warm up. As winter markets end, more farmers’ markets will open in late spring, right before summer. Find the perfect jam or jelly, local meats, and produce, and even discover a new treat you can eat or wear (we see you alpaca socks)—shopping local has never been more fun.
Be a speed demon
Feel the thrill of the racetrack when you take your family out go-karting this spring. Your kids will be revved up when they put the pedal to the metal as they zoom through a day of family fun. Experience a European-style racetrack at RPM or speed around the largest indoor karting track in the world at Supercharged Entertainment.
Pick strawberries off the vine
As spring winds down, be the first to go strawberry picking and enjoy the fruits of your labor. Take the family to Alstede farm, where the fun doesn’t stop at the strawberries—enjoy shopping, hayrides, and games for the kids. After picking as many berries as you can carry at Sussex County Strawberry Farm, get their list of recipes to make at home. Or visit Battleview Orchards, the oldest pick-your-own farm in New Jersey.
What fun things to do in NJ on your bucket list?
Become an NJMOM Insider! For all the best things to do with your family around New Jersey, sign up for our weekly newsletter delivered right to your inbox each week, and don’t forget to tag your photos #NJMOM and @njmom for a chance to be featured on our social media.